Siemens’ Felipe Ferreira on leadership & digital strategies
Felipe Ferreira began his career fresh out of graduating from Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto with a degree in Electrical and System Engineering, joining Siemens Group as a Process Engineer for a semiconductor plant, until 2001 when he left to take an MBA. “When I finished, I started working at SONAE (the holding company that owns Worten) roughly 18 years ago. Since 2017 I have been exclusively working at Worten, first as Head of Supply Chain, and by the end of 2018 I was invited to launch the Digital Transformation area.
Since joining Worten, Ferreira has helped the company to strive towards its vision to be “a digital company, with physical stores and a human touch.” As part of this vision Worten’s objective is to expand the business, creating a distinctive value proposition, which starts with consumer electronics to serve the ever-changing consumers better and more comprehensively. “At Worten we believe that we can deliver business results around two ambitious ideas: that our brand is elastic enough to serve the consumers in more areas than just consumer electronics, sustaining their trust as we always did; and the second is that the result of the "merger" of the digital world with the physical world can be much greater than the "sum of its parts", especially if the human factor (emotional closeness, availability, personal attention, affinity) is maximised as a differentiating factor.”
Currently, Worten's strategy focus is to promote a digital culture, working on the organisational aspects and working methodologies of the company. “We opened our digitalism hub last June, to be a different space from everyday life, to be a pleasant space, and above all, to be a promoter of collaboration, discussion and, consequently, faster, higher quality results. We also created the slice and dice methodology, which divides a big problem into minor problems, up to the point of finding the actionable unit and we are extremely quick to act on this.” Since adopting this digital and agile approach Ferreira has seen huge benefits, including improved customer experience and an increased speed to act and deliver results with decisions that are supported by data, as well as creating a ‘safety net’ for its teams. “If they fail there is no problem as they learn quickly from the error and try again with greater probability of success.”
In addition to driving improved agility within its operations, Worten is looking to change its operating structure and redesign its system architecture and the way its IT is organised and relates to the rest of the organisation. In fact, Ferreira explains that evolution at Worten “involves a lot of technology ‘entering’ the organisation and being part of the way Worten works.”
When it comes to the workplace culture of Worten, Ferreira concludes that “undoubtedly, I believe our people are our greatest strength because, besides having great know-how, they also have a great sense of belonging to the organisation and love to overcome the challenges they face. That has helped us to build a brand of trust that has been recognised by our customers for over 20 years, and that will be the pillar of our transformation to assure the next 20.”
“Fairness, patience, and clear decision-making are crucial both on the football pitch and in procurement.”